tv NBC Nightly News NBC October 29, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on our broadcast tonight, hurricane sandy, a history-making weather event coming to shore this evening and changing the map of the coastline in some portions. tonight, some portions of the east coast are under siege and getting pounded, power is out, new york city, all but cut off. trains and bridges and tunnels closed, while new yorkers deal with a badly damaged construction crane on top of the tallest building in the city. tonight, the city is under massive storm warnings, nbc news begins now. >> this is nbc nightly news.
good evening, we wanted to let our viewers on the west coast know what it is like to be on the east coast tonight, the freakishly powerful october storm will go down as one of the worst storms of all time. it is no longer technically hurricane sandy, a sub-tropical cyclone, a nor'easter to some sta states, ten states under emergency, almost half the country warned about high winds all because of this. it has officially made landfall tonight just south of atlantic city, new jersey, and has the power to alter the map of the jersey shore. and we'll see that in action in just a moment. sandy is tonight causing flooding from massachusetts, to all the way west, a cloud bank visible over lake michigan. in new york, all eyes are on the continuing drama of that massive dangling construction crane, captured on video as it got blown up and over on its cab. it is now swinging in the wind,
on top of 57th street. and picture this, the new york stock exchange is sandbagged. cars were floating in the water in lower manhattan, not far from the stock exchange tonight. broadway is closed, all theaters are dark. most of the routes into and out of the city are cut off. times square is desolate at this hour, a sight you seldom see. we have a lot of ground to cover, knowing close to a million of our potential viewers in the east can't see us tonight because of the power outages. let's start on the hard-hit new jersey shore, meteorologist mike seidel is at pleasant point beach. and mark, i saw your site, i am curious to learn where you are. >> reporter: yeah, good evening, brian, and pardon the lighting but we're doing the best we can tonight without electricity. the power is out. i just saw some more power flashes here. we had to leave our position on the beach about an hour and a
half ago, first, the dish was taking quite a beating from the wind. we don't want to lose the dish, then we pull inland to get off the beach. and the whole property is under water. we're a ways back, look behind me down the street, the water is rushing down the street like a river, coming down in rapids. and earlier, we got whipped not only by the water but the waves and wind. the crew back there is waist deep, away from the atlantic in a town here at the back door of the hotel, you can see the sea foam, this orange pile-on floated in, all kinds of debris floating in. the crews are staying here. all i can say is i have never witnessed anything like this. usually, we pull back or we don't see this. but the whole town is under water. look at the force of the water. you just got to get -- an idea of how fast the water is rushing in front of those homes.
and this is about a block to block and a half from the beach, brian. i'm afraid this is obviously going to be one that goes down in the annals in the weather. certainly on the beaches of new jersey, not only here but on the beaches, as we showed you earlier, al roker, they showed you earlier how the 25-yard dune was decimated, when i saw that earlier, brian, boy i thought it was just like the tsunami in japan, and here comes another wave of water. this is salt water, since it is late october the water temperature is in the 60s, so it is not icy cold, but nonetheless, we're getting wind gusts up to 70 miles an hour. and by the way, that gauge at sandy hook has set an all-time record, now it is approaching 13 feet, almost three feet higher than the water level was with irene, august a year ago.
we're staying hunkered down and bringing pictures the best we can. >> we appreciate that, mike, i don't have to tell you the real estate there is hugely valuable for the state of new jersey. it is a recreational playground all summer for millions of american families. what is high tide where you are? is this the after-effect of the mean high tide on the jersey shore? >> reporter: yeah, the high tide is occurring right about now. it ranges generally between 8-8:30 between atlantic city and up here. so it is occurring right now. so we would suspect, now that the storm has gone inland, and the winds generally -- eventually will come around offshore, that it won't get much worse than this. the water won't get much higher. but again, it is already two and a half to three feet higher, at least at sandy hook than it was with irene. so that puts that in perspective. and i think when we get first flight tomorrow you will see how the entire coastline has been
re-arranged from the entire storm. >> i think my wife and i had dinner about a thousand yards from where your standing this past weekend. mike seidel, as you heard him say it will be historic storm surge, it is already, this storm is so difficult to describe because it matches no other model in meteorology. we learned that tonight from the hurricane expert at the weather channel, meteorologist brian norcross. he is standing by, brian, what an incredible report from mike seidel, and i wish we could turn it around and send it the other way. >> reporter: yeah, it breaks my heart, and i know it does yours, brian. both of us are children of the jersey shore. and have seen the big storms there and what they can do. it is just incredible. all right, we have all kinds of things going on here, lots to talk about. you described the storm perfectly at the beginning of the broadcast.
it is a freak storm and had a hurricane imbedded in the nor'easter. the hurricane is actually on the southern side here and has dissipated, coming technically around atlantic city, finally. but the big circulation is the nor'easter here, and that is what is driving the water up into long island sound and up into new york city there. and the tunnels and the subway are all subject to be flooded by this huge storm. also, while we're looking at the radar, flooding rain of the kind that come out of the sky, are going on right now, over to the west and in the higher elevations and the mountains there, of maryland, virginia, on up to western pennsylvania, so all of that is going to be another concern. and then we have hurricane-force winds coming into new england, as well. to match the hurricane-force winds around the new york city area at the airports. we have had a number of those things happen. so the immediate concern here, among all of those concerns, is that storm surge. so here is where the remnants of
the hurricane, part of this system are. here is the flow coming around now, it is just beginning to come around and press into new york harbor. the ocean water, pushing in that way and against the south shore of long island. we had record storm surge already here, and the tide is not quite in, at the battery in lower manhattan. and we have another 15 minutes or so to go there. plus, we have the deviation in the wind, which will add to the storm surge. so we're estimating a foot or so of storm surge to increase yet in battery park. and we still have now, the storm surge coming in up here in the southern part of new england. so all of these things going on here at the same time. so four to eight feet of storm surge on the jersey shore, the south shore of long island. but look at the six to 11 feet including new york city, including long island sound, and still big storm surges out here even on cape cod because of the
monster circulation. and the hurricane-force wind warnings go from cape cod all the way down to virginia, so so much going on here. so the concerns of the rising water are not far from you in the lower manhattan area, and all around new york city and long island. >> brian norcross, from the relative safety. and while you were talking we were taking some power hits here at 30 rockefellerplaza in mid-town manhattan. we're concentrating on the tip of battery park, the southern-most part of manhattan. not because anybody is losing ho homes down there or any real structure damage, just because it is such a marker, the sea wall there these are cars in lower manhattan. some were on top, some were seen
floating not far from the battery district, the danger is the sea wall, coming in the storm drains, the power sub stations and the subway. and that is where jim cantore is. >> reporter: and a good note, too, con-ed knew this was coming and shut down the power, just could be a major catastrophe in terms of electric. and i want to take you back, here we are, this is probably about 30 yards from the actual railing here at the sea wall. i'm going to walk back as far as i can. and you can see the water coming here in waves here. just like mike, we're going to try and light this as fast as we can, and show you. but this is as high as the park bench is here, the two and a half, three feet surge here, the
highest for battery park in new york city. when can you remember this? being in manhattan, lower part of town, brooklyn, not seeing any lights, we have had many, many power surges here tonight, and we're talking about it looking like the fourth of july. the water continues to roll in. we understand now, we've just heard a report in the subways, the water is starting to enter the subways, and that is what we heard from irene, we know the surge is two feet higher than that so now the water is coming in the sub wways. we understand on grand island, there are rescue boats, so water coming into the streets of manhattan. and we're far from over, the winds have already shifted. we're getting wind gusts now just now approaching hurricane-force winds here in new york city. brian, an unbelievable sight
here in lower manhattan. >> and it gets worse, this is a late fall, still leaves on the trees, the northern suburbs of the area, connecticut, westchester county, there are power outages that we don't yet know about. that will be three or four days from now, before the camera -- power crews get up there. >> reporter: i'm afraid this storm, brian, is coming to pretty much be everything that we thought it was going to be. and i know it was so unbelievable for many, including, you know, officials to actually buy into this thing. but everything that it was supposed to do, sadly, it is doing. >> yeah, that is absolutely right, jim cantore of the weather channel, lower manhattan tonight where they are taking on water. we'll take a break and continue right after this. n every day. i told him, sure. can't hurt, right? then i heard this news about a multivitamin study
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to our viewers out west who probably think on an average day we cover new york city too much, because it is our back yard. tonight, i want to read you a statement. all new york city residents are being told to go inside immediately and remain indoors until further notice. 911 has been swamped. they are pulling the cabs in from the new york city streets. the city is absolutely desolate, and now, by order. there is this drama unfolding, on 57th street, in mid-town
manhattan, underneath what is still under construction, the tallest apartment building in the city, there it was, captured on video in the winds today. a construction crane, free-standing, doubling over on itself. it has been swinging back and forth. and we're talking about gusts tonight around in the neighborhood of 80 miles an hour with this storm. rehema ellis on scene as she has been for us all evening in mid-town. >> reporter: brian it is dangerous out here, now even more so. and the pictures we showed you moments ago of the crane where it was pointed south. that wind, that powerful wind has now pointed this thing and moved it. it is moving southwest, and makes this situation out here all the more uncomfortable. the crane up top a one and a half billion luxury apartment building that is under
construction, and is up over 50, 60, 70 stories high. and we don't know what is going to happen here that is why the authorities have created what they call a collapse zone, no cars or pedestrians in the area, and they have evacuated from that. no injuries reported. and this is the only situation they're dealing with, as you pointed out. in lower manhattan, about 40 blocks from here, a four-story house, much older, looks like a doll house. and the front of it is completely ripped off of this building. we're told there are no injuries there tonight. and whoever was there, they got out safely. meanwhile, back here, they're just trying to figure out what they can do. they have authorities up there, experts to see if they could secure this crane, but brian, they may not be able to do anything until this storm passes. >> well, it was as if new york city felt a little too big for its britches, this storm has brought the city to its knees as
much as any storm could. rehema ellis, one of the only authorized ones to be on the street. we'll take a break, and what could be the obsession before the storm. the race for the president. and check out the preventive benefits you get after the health care law. ♪ medicare open enrollment. now's the time. visit medicare.gov or call 1-800-medicare. ♪ heartburn symptoms causedelieve by acid reflux disease.care. osteoporosis-related bone fractures and low magnesium levels have been seen with nexium. possible side effects include headache, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. other serious stomach conditions may still exist. talk to your doctor about nexium.
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. washington, d.c. has had its share of rough weather today, and tonight, flooding rains, washington, baltimore, the delmarva, but think of what this storm does just beyond the distraction from the coverage of the race for president. there is also the events, the tenor and tempo, our chief white house correspondent, chuck todd is in the white house today, safe from the elements. >> reporter: good evening, brian, well, the president actually woke up this morning in orlando, florida, for what he thought was going to be a three-state, one-day blitz with president clinton. the white house decided to cancel it, got back on air force one, got back to washington and got briefings, if you will, from his fema director in the situation room.
and then briefed the situation with the warning about getting away from the shoreline. but before he left the briefing room, he was asked about the election, here is what he said. >> i am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. i'm worried about the impact on families and the impact on first responders. i'm worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation. the election will take care of itself. >> reporter: while the president did cancel all of his campaign events today, mitt romney did have a couple, although he cancelled some tonight. and while in ohio, he tried to walk the line between asking for compassion, but still playing a little campaign politics. here is what he said. >> i know the people of the atlantic coast are counting on ohio and the rest of our states. but i also think the people of the entire nation are counting on ohio. because my guess is, my guess is that if ohio votes me in as president i'll be the next president of the united states. thank you. >> here is what we do know,
brian, both mitt romney and barack obama are not doing any campaign events at all tomorrow. and wednesday's schedule is still on the bubble. we'll see if they can get back on the trail. at that point it would be with just six days to go. >> well, chuck, what happens -- last time we had a hurricane, the halloween storm last year, we had power outages north of new york city. upstate new york, connecticut, rhode island, massachusetts, maine, vermont, eight to 11 days. what happens if people can't get to the polls to vote? is there a mechanism to delay a vote in certain places? >> reporter: well look, the states run the election system, it doesn't come from the government. i can tell you the topic came up. the fema director, fugate, did talk with officials. this is what happened in the state of florida when it happened in 2004. they moved polling places and got generators where it was
necessary to open precincts. and by the way, the federal government reimbursed the state for those costs. that is why it came up, because state and local officials asked mr. fugate if they could get reimbursed with federal tax dollars and he said that yes, that would be the case. that would be step one, a delay, and next, it is not up to the states, it would be a case by case. >> these early reports where we're getting where we can't get pictures yet out of the area just north of new york city is of some catastrophic damage, trees still down, over the wires, arcing wires, so we're in for a long couple of days. chuck todd in the west wing, of the briefing room at the white house. chuck, thanks. we'll be right back after the break. our coverage will continue right after this. ♪ with a low national plan premium... ♪
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desolation, almost, in times square. you just don't often see this, a lone building or two, and the city of new york has ordered people to go inside and stay inside the nation's largest city. this is just one small component of it. the damage starts really in north carolina, and before it is over, we'll go north to canada. earlier this evening, folks were out on lake michigan and saw the approaching cloud bank. the far western end of this storm, that is re-routing the map of the eastern sea shore in spots. there are towns that never before had standing water in their history that have water in their streets tonight. a whole lot of people in the millions without power. this one is going to take a good long time and billions of dollars to recover from. at this point, we want to say good night to those of you joining us on the western part of the country.